Ukraine grain shipment deal extended for 120 days

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Nov. 17 (UPI) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres Thursday welcomed an agreement to extend the Ukraine-Russia grain deal that allows safe passage of grain shipments from Ukraine. Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations allowed the deal to be extended for 120 days.

“I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizer from Ukraine,” Gutteres tweeted.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Bangkok, “Russia again heard and apparently felt that the world would not accept Moscow refusing to extend the agreement.”

Ukraine Minister of Infrastructure Alexander Kubrakov confirmed in a statement that the grain deal will be extended for 120 days.

He said the decision was made in Istanbul and the United Nations and Turkey are still the guarantors of the initiative.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the existing deal provides an automatic extension of 120 days and there were no objections to that automatic extension.

The Russian statement also said that “the agreements on Ukrainian food and the effective implementation of the Russian-UN Memorandum on the normalization of Russian agricultural exports is a package deal, and that remains unchanged.”

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Russia said that in order for the grain deal to go beyond this automatic 120-day extension, the normalization of Russian agricultural exports must be done. Russia said the United Nations is working to “remove obstacles” to Russian exports.

“All these issues must be resolved within 120 days, the period for which the package deal is to be extended,” the Russian statement said.

Russia said there are 300,000 tons of Russian fertilizers detained in European Union ports that Russia wants to donate to developing countries in need.

Kubrakov said Ukraine is proposing that the grain initiative be extended for at least one year and that the port of Nikolaev be added to the agreement.

According to Kubrakov, more than 11 million tons of Ukrainian agriculture products have been shipped to 38 countries since Aug. 1. He said that while it’s a considerable amount, it’s not enough.